Also in the news / Women’s Aid event cancelled, apprenticeship week, space collaboration and more…

AN EVENT in the Lerwick flower park pavilion to mark tomorrow’s International Women’s Day and the 40th birthday of Shetland Women’s Aid has been postponed due to the weather.

Organiser Laura Stronach said: “The difficulties getting around Shetland with the snow, means that those involved will find it tricky to attend.

“This was to be the first event to kick off our 40th birthday celebrations this year in celebration of International Women’s Day.”

The aim of the IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign theme is to get the world talking about why equal opportunities are not enough.

Stronach said she hoped to be able to reschedule the event for later this month.

Anna McDowall is one of Vestas’ apprentices. Photo: SSE Renewables

MARKING Scottish Apprenticeship Week Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart has met with employers and apprentices of a number of local businesses and representatives from UHI Shetland.


With this year’s theme of ‘unlocking potential’, the awareness week’s aim is to raise the profile of apprenticeships and the benefits these can bring.

Meanwhile, SSE Renewables has highlighted the work local apprentices, employed by wind turbine manufacturer Vestas, are doing on the Viking wind farm construction site.

Wishart said: “Apprenticeships provide valuable skills for the future, with nationally recognised qualifications, and are an investment in the workforce.

“Shetland’s apprentices will go on to increase their skills while contributing to Shetland’s economy. Good luck to everyone involved in local apprenticeship programmes.”

Scottish Apprenticeship Week runs from 6 to 10 March and can be followed on social media.

SAXAVORD Spaceport is developing a satellite payload processing facility (PPF) with space engineering safety specialists Plastron UK that they hope will give the Unst facility a commercial edge in the sector.

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The construction of a unit with two clean rooms and an air lock capable of running at very low cost and with greatly reduced down-time will also help SaxaVord reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Plastron UK has been commissioned to design, equip and deliver the PPF to enable satellites to be launched into space from Shetland.

The company’s Chris Smith said: “Using knowledge gleaned from performing launch operations throughout the world, we have designed the most advanced payload processing facility available for the new space sector.”

SaxaVord deputy chief executive Scott Hammond explained: “These cleanrooms will give SaxaVord and the UK an unrivalled capability to host satellites of up to 1,000kg – no other spaceport will have this capability.

“This means we can host a multitude of different satellite sizes and that we are not restricted in our offering to the industry.”

STAFF at lifeline ferry operator NorthLink have raised almost £5,000 in support of northeast cancer charity CLAN.


Staff on board and ashore carried out fundraising activities over the course of last year to gather funds for the charity.

Efforts included a sponsored walk, Sunday tea fundraiser and festive raffle. In addition, staff sold NorthLink merchandise, hoodies, T-shirts, and mugs – made locally in the islands – and gathered cash on board through bucket donation collections.

WITH the cold weather here to stay for another few days, Scottish Water is reminding households and businesses to ensure that pipes are protected.

The utility’s customer service manager Kevin Roy said: “Water pipes can be very vulnerable to swings in temperature and the freeze-thaw process.

“We would want all householders and businesses to prepare and be alert for any bursts which do occur.

“We are putting a range of resources in place to allow us to deal with issues which arise – but prevention in the first place is always a better option.”

The key advice about pipes is to heat, insulate and protect. More information can be found here.

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